One man’s art … OK. So the Arts DEVOté didn’t make it out for Art First Saturday. Shame on him. But he had a good excuse: It was really sunny out on Friday. And, his computer at work was down. And he really, really wanted to play hooky, so he went home and grabbed his camera and put his pooch on the leash, and wore himself (and the pooch) out with an all-day trek through Bidwell Park. It turned out to be a pretty invigorating art walk in its own right. Some of the pieces on display (at right): A great new thing One work of art that will no longer be on display in Bidwell Park is the Ensemble Theatre of Chico’s annual summer Shakespeare in the Park production. After 17 years of putting on plays in Cedar Grove, summer Shakespeare will take place in a new park—Chico’s City Plaza. Longtime mastermind of the series Jerry Miller has been working closely with the Parks Department since first seeing plans for the new downtown gathering place, and he says that the motivation behind moving the event was to “open it up to more levels of the community.”
Without the usual castle barrier surrounding the theater, paying for the plays will be “strictly by voluntary donation,” says Miller, and seating arrangements will be handled like the concerts in the park (i.e. bring your own), with the added service of chair rentals for $2 apiece. Another change this year with the three-play lineup is instead of running consecutively, the productions will overlap (“They’ll run in repertoire,” says Miller), giving showgoers a chance to see more than one play per weekend.
Auditions were last week, and the first play, Much Ado About Nothing , opens June 23.
But I can’t wait You don’t have to wait for summer for your theater, though. Opening Thursday, March 8: The 1940’s Radio Hour, Chico Cabaret’s theatrical broadcast of a live musical variety show, and Tony Kushner’s powerful Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America: Part 1, Millenium Approaches.
Breaking theater news: A.D. is very sad to report that, as of June 15, the Blue Room’s Joe Hilsee will no longer be the theater’s artistic director. According to Hilsee, the board of directors has replaced him with Chico State costumer Gail Holbrook. In a showing of solidarity, the theater’s acting company has announced that it will leave on June 15 as well. There’s definitely more story to tell (according to former board member Stephen Metzger, the difficult decision, right or wrong, was made with the theater’s best interests in mind and not for political reasons), but in this devoté’s humble opinion, except for maybe Shakespeare in the Park’s Miller, there isn’t a more valuable theater resource in Chico than Hilsee. A.D.’s choice would be to keep a guy like that around. But what does he know?